In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 4 Best Baby Thermometers

We tested baby and kids' thermometers from top brands like Braun, Vicks, Digital, and others to find the best
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Best Baby Thermometers
We tested a variety of top-rated thermometers for baby and kids to help you find the best option for your family.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Our Top Picks

By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday January 26, 2024

Are you searching for a great baby and kids thermometer? We purchased and tested 6 top models to find the best and most accurate products on the market today. We tested each product side-by-side in real homes with real children to find the easiest, most accurate, top-quality options suitable for most families' at-home needs. If you need a thermometer to keep tabs on your little one's health and well-being, look no further than our roundup of great options and award-winning standouts.

Every family should have health and safety tools on hand for when little ones aren't feeling well or need help. Our baby health and safety gear list includes everything you need if your little one isn't feeling well, like a top-ranking baby humidifier for colds, plus everyday body and skincare items, such as the best baby lotion to help soothe dry skin.

Editor's Note: Our thermometer review was updated on January 26, 2024, for accuracy and pricing.


Best Overall Thermometer

Braun ThermoScan

Method: Ear | Battery Type: 2 AA
Quick & accurate reading
Requires ear pulling
Future purchases required
20-minute wait time

The Braun ThermoScan is an ear infrared thermometer with a tip cap and disposable covers. This device is easy to hold, has an intuitive interface, plus a hands-free tip cover ejection. We like that this thermometer has fewer restrictions than several infrared competitors and feels higher quality than most of the other infrared options we tested. The Braun comes with 2 AA Duracell batteries already installed.

This thermometer requires ear pulling to get a straight view of the eardrum. If your little one has an ear infection or is ear sensitive, this could be a problem. Also, as with similar technology, you need to control multiple environmental factors to obtain an accurate reading. We worry parents might forget the requirements or fail to follow them. According to our testing and the manual, failure to follow the instructions can lead to inaccurate readings. If you have a smaller budget, the Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer could be a potential choice that works without tugging on the ear. Overall, we think this option is the highest quality product in our review with a user-friendly design. We believe most families will be happy with this baby and kids' thermometer.

baby and kids thermometer - best overall thermometer
The Braun thermometer is high-quality, easy to use, and gives a more consistently accurate reading than some of the competition.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Best Bang for the Thermometer Buck

Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer

Method: Forehead/Ear | Battery Type: 2 AAA
Dual modes
Quick reading
Need to clean ear tip after use
30 min same room wait time
Lots of potential for inaccuracies

The Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer is an infrared technology thermometer with forehead and inner ear reading capabilities. We like that this product has dual modes, so you have potential options depending on your child's ailments; both methods are easy to use. This product shares an instruction manual with two other thermometers in this review, giving us the impression they all come from the same manufacturer. It includes 2 AAA batteries you install yourself.

This baby and kids' thermometer does not include ear covers, nor does the manufacturer sell them, so you have to clean the ear tip after every use. This technology type also involves meeting several requirements before taking temperatures to ensure accuracy, so we encourage parents to read the instructions and tips before every use. We think this is one of the easiest-to-use options for the price. While ear thermometers also have requirements to meet, the Braun ThermoScan can save you from infrared concerns with added quality. We believe parents will appreciate the ability to choose between ear or forehead methodology, making it a wallet-friendly option for most families.

baby and kids thermometer - best bang for the thermometer buck
The Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer gives parents reading location options and is easy to use no matter which you choose.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Best for Consistent Accuracy

Vicks SpeedRead

Method: Oral/Rectal/Armpit | Battery Type: Button
Easy to use
Must have for under 6 months
Takes time
Hard to find a battery

It is practically impossible to find a more accurate thermometer than the Vicks SpeedRead. This thermometer works orally, rectally, or under the armpit. In our tests, the Vicks provided the best and most consistently accurate readings, and we were most confident that the readings accurately reflected the test child's health. Unlike infrared technology, this thermometer gives you the child's actual temperature instead of the ambient heat around the child's body. This difference in technology is likely why many pediatricians require baby temperatures, especially infants under six months, only be taken using this type of thermometer (usually rectally). This baby and kids' thermometer is super easy to use, and we love the giant backlit digital display that is easy to read under any lighting conditions.

This thermometer requires more patience than other contenders, as you may need to wait briefly for a reading. Our oral tests were only a few seconds or less, but the armpit and rectal temperatures can take longer. To avoid contamination, you'll also need to keep this thermometer ultra-clean and consider buying two, one for oral and one for the "other place." However, the price is low enough for most families to purchase multiples. We think that sometimes old-fashioned and straightforward is the way to go. This thermometer beat the competition for consistent accuracy with the fewest limitations or environmental requirements. We believe this is something parents can appreciate. Even if you want the convenience of a no-contact product, we recommend the Vicks as a good backup product to double-check readings, especially if you are on the fence about your child's well-being or need for care. For non-contact, we'd choose the Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer, but if it gives results that seem unexpected, the Speed is a great backup tool.

baby and kids thermometer - best for consistent accuracy
For consistent accuracy, it is tough to beat the Vicks Speed Read.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Best for Contactless Readings

iHealth No-Touch Thermometer

Method: No-contact | Battery Type: 2 AAA
Quick readout
Easy to use
Potential for inaccuracies
Must clean forehead 30 min before use

The iHealth No-Touch Thermometer thermometer has a fancy look that reminds us of Apple products, but it isn't. It feels sturdy and has a nicer overall quality than the competition we tested. It is easy to use with a single button, has a no-contact design, and takes regular batteries most families have on standby.

Unfortunately, this model suffers from the same limitations and potential for inaccuracies as the other infrared thermometers, making us worry about parents following directions. However, if you follow the instructions, have a plan in place, and have some patience, the iHealth is a quality selection most parents can master. If you want to save a few bucks and are less concerned with a "Fancy" feel, the Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer is a similar option that functions the same way.

baby and kids thermometer - best for contactless readings
The iHealth offers no-contact reading and feels durable compared to much of the competition.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Dual Mode Contender

Goodbaby Thermometer

Method: Forehead/ear | Battery Type: 2 AAA
Dual modes
Easy to use
30 min same room wait time
Lots of potential for inaccurate readings
Ear pull

Goodbaby Thermometer is similar in design with an identical user manual as the iProven. This infrared thermometer comes with 2 AAA batteries and can work on the forehead or in the ear, and we appreciate that parents have the choice for taking a temperature. The device was easy to use during our testing, with reasonably accurate readings when we followed the lengthy list of environmental requirements.

The ear mode for any infrared thermometer requires pulling slightly on the ear to get a straight view of the eardrum. This process could cause discomfort if your little one has an ear infection, so parents should use caution. Like other thermometers with infrared technology, a wide range of restrictions and limitations could influence accuracy, so we caution parents to review the instructions and tips in-depth for accurate results. This baby and kids' thermometer is average for the group we tested. While the readings were as precise as any other infrared thermometer, and we like the dual-mode potential, we think some of the products we tested feel of higher quality, like the Braun ThermoScan, which is an ear scanner.

baby and kids thermometer - the goodbaby can be used in the ear or on the forehead based on user...
The Goodbaby can be used in the ear or on the forehead based on user preference or child ability or illness.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Lower Quality Feel

iProven Digital Thermometer

Method: Forehead/Ear | Battery Type: 2 AAA
Simple single button
Dual modes
30 min same room wait time
Ear pull

The iProven Digital Thermometer shares some commonalities with others in this review, including design and user manual. It can read temperatures via the forehead or eardrum, and the user interface is simple. We like the dual-mode versatility, and the accuracy during testing was good when we followed all of the tips and requirements. This thermometer comes with batteries and a cloth carry bag.

While the dual mode is helpful, the ear-taking method requires pulling slightly on the ear, which could cause pain if an infection is brewing. Also, the quality feels only average compared to some of the more durable feeling competitors in this review. Also, you might want to consider one type instead of a dual-method thermometer. If you think an infrared is the right method for you, the Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer could be a good option that also works as an ear pull method. Last, like other infrared options, the iProven requires strict adherence to a list of requirements for accurate readings. We encourage parents to read these instructions for critical information to monitor temperatures accurately.

The iProven works on the forehead for a less invasive temperature...
The iProven works on the forehead for a less invasive temperature reading.
The iProven works in the ear for eardrum infrared measurements.
The iProven works in the ear for eardrum infrared measurements.

baby and kids thermometer
Credit: Parinya Agsararattananont ©

Why You Should Trust Us

The thermometer review is led by

Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2. Wendy's experience history includes ten years of testing baby gear and using various thermometer types and brands, as her youngest son had a chronic illness as an infant. Because of this, Wendy takes thermometers seriously, as she understands the importance of having a tool you can rely on when your baby's health is in question. Wendy tested each product in the lineup for ease of use, accuracy, and quality to determine what matters and which options are the best.

We purchased and tested each thermometer in this review including...
We purchased and tested each thermometer in this review including the iHealth seen here.
The large screen on this thermometer makes reading temperatures a...
The large screen on this thermometer makes reading temperatures a breeze.

Analysis and Test Results

We bought and performed side-by-side testing for all of the thermometers in this review. Each option was considered a stand-alone contender compared to the other products in the review.

Add it to the Registry
Thermometers make practical baby gifts you'll be glad to have on hand. We recommend adding it to your registry once you've chosen the right one for you.

baby and kids thermometer - the braun comes with a tip cap and disposable covers.
The Braun comes with a tip cap and disposable covers.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Ease of Use

A great thermometer should be easy for you and your child to use. If it isn't easy to operate or hold, it may not offer accurate results. If it causes discomfort or takes too long, it could be a struggle with younger babies who may struggle to hold still. We test each competitor for how easy it is to take the temperature, how simple the user interface is, and whether or not the process will cause discomfort for your baby. Ideally, most parents want to take a temperature swiftly without disturbing their baby— no reason to wake a sleeping child who might feel yucky and already have trouble sleeping.

Read the Entire Manual
As many of the thermometers in this lineup have quick-start guides and more in-depth manuals, we strongly recommend parents read the entire manual cover-to-cover to ensure they have all the information, restrictions, and tips required to ensure accurate readings. We were surprised by much of what we read and feel the vital information parents need is hidden deep in the manual instead of being presented initially. You must follow all of the guidelines to ensure accurate readings.

Newer technology has seen a rise in thermometers that never need to touch a person, more or less. Alternatively, others work with a moment in the ear or swipe across the forehead, something many children will sleep right through. Long gone are the days of rectal-only temperature taking (whew!). However, your pediatrician may demand a rectal temperature if your little one is on the edge of the potential need for medical intervention or is under eight months old. For this reason, you should stock two different types of thermometers (like the Vicks Speed to cover your bases (more on this under Accuracy below).

The Braun ThermoScan has an ergonomic shape with only two buttons to manage, and one is the on/off button. While it comes with a book of information rivaled only by 80s-style VCR instructions, the Braun is simple to use with a minimal number of child-involved steps and a short duration for taking the temperature. The Vicks thermometer is also easy to use with only one step, but it isn't easy for little ones who will need to hold still or keep a thermometer under their tongue or other places until a readout is acquired (less than 2-5 seconds in our tests). This thermometer works in oral, rectal, or under-the-arm locations, and all require patience on your child's part, which may not be in the cards with a sick and fussy baby. However, as many pediatricians require rectal temperatures for infants under six to eight months, you both may need to suffer a little, no matter what.

baby and kids thermometer - the infrared thermometer technology in most of the competition we...
The infrared thermometer technology in most of the competition we purchased and tested has a significant potential for inaccurate readings.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Accuracy is critical for temperature taking, especially for babies under six months, where one degree can make the difference between a doctor's call and a hospital visit. For older children, this may be less crucial. Still, you need to be able to rely on your thermometer to be accurate consistently every time. In our testing, we discovered that most of the competition's infrared technology is fraught with the potential for inaccurate readings.

Take Regular Readings of Healthy Children
Because "normal" temperatures vary from person to person, experts recommend that each family member have their temperature taken multiple times a day for a few days when they feel healthy to determine a baseline of normal average temperatures. If they become ill, it will be much easier to determine if they have an elevated temperature as opposed to a higher temperature than the average population, but that could still be normal for them. We recommend you write down the average temperatures for everyone in your family and keep this information with your thermometer for easy and quick reference.

After much research, we feel it is safe to say that if you need to determine whether to send a little one to school, an infrared thermometer will likely give you the confidence you need to decide. However, if you are trying to determine if your child needs medical care, we think it is best to rely on an oral/rectal thermometer like the Vicks Speed Read for accurate readings. We recommend parents listen to their gut. If you believe something is wrong with your child, we suggest you get them professional help even if the reading on your thermometer shows a temperature within normal limits.

Infrared Precautions

Many of the thermometers in this lineup are infrared technology. While this is a commonplace technology and allows for the creation of contactless or limited contact temperature taking, it is not without its problems. The potential for inaccurate readings is higher with infrared than with a traditional thermometer. In our testing, we discovered (after reading each user manual) that there are many stipulations, restrictions, and instructions you need to adhere to to ensure accurate readings. These strict guidelines could be difficult or impossible to follow if your baby is sick. We want parents to know the restrictions before putting all their eggs in the infrared convenience basket. While we love the idea of straightforward thermometers, we worry this technology could be misleading and result in sick children being left untreated.

For example, some (but not all) of the instructions for these products include the following:

  • The thermometer and person should be in the same room for 20-30 min (thermometer-dependent) before taking readings.
  • You should clean the forehead and remove hair 20-30 min before taking the temperature
  • A person should not eat or drink for 30 min before taking their temperature
  • A person should not have their temperature taken if they've just moved from a location of higher or lower temperatures than the room where the temperature is taken
  • Temperatures will not be accurate if a person has been physically active in the last 30 min
  • You should not use cell phones in the same room as the thermometer
  • You should not use the thermometer near microwaves or other sources of possible interference (possibly baby monitors)
  • You should not use the thermometer on any area pressed against another surface or covered in the last 30 minutes by items, including hats, pillows, headrests, etc.

We recommend that parents keep a traditional thermometer like the Vicks oral thermometer on hand as a secondary device if they have concerns about the infrared thermometer's accuracy. We also suggest storing your thermometer in your baby's nursery/child's room, as this is likely where you will commonly be taking your little one's temperature. As such, perhaps you will be able to forgo the 30 minutes in the same room wait time if your little one has been in their room 30 minutes before using the thermometer.

baby and kids thermometer - forehead readings use infrared technology that could lead to...
Forehead readings use infrared technology that could lead to inaccurate readings if you don't carefully follow the instructions.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

The thermometers were all accurate to one another and the oral thermometer when used according to the directions and tips. Unfortunately, many of the infrared thermometers' directions are convoluted, include many restrictions, and require ideal circumstances that most parents are likely unaware of or forget, even if they read the instructions on first use. As a result, we easily produced multiple inaccurate readings from most of the competition simply by using the thermometers in a way we think most parents naturally will. For example, we stored some of the thermometers in a bathroom overnight and then took them to an air-conditioned room to take a child's temperature the following morning. The temperature was 0.5-2 degrees different from the same child's oral thermometer result at the same time. This discrepancy is likely because we broke the thermometer rule of being in the same room as the child for 30 minutes before use. This is a condition almost all of the thermometers in our lineup recommend to ensure an accurate reading. We also used them in a room with an air conditioner, something many of the user manuals recommended you don't do. However, we believe this will occur in real life, along with a heater or fan use. Two degrees of inaccuracy are the difference between a healthy child and a doctor's appointment or an appointment and the ER. As a result of our testing, we believe the average parent will use the baby and kids' thermometers in the same way. We feel it is best to have an oral/rectal thermometer to double-check your infrared readings if your little one is on the cusp of a fever. Should the infrared thermometer provide information that feels inaccurate, you can take a second reading with the oral/rectal thermometer for a more reliable, accurate result. This method could prove critical when deciding whether your child should attend school or stay home.

baby and kids thermometer - in our testing, we found eardrum temperature measurements to offer...
In our testing, we found eardrum temperature measurements to offer more accurate results than forehead or no-contact methods.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

The ear-location competition typically provides more accurate readings than contactless forehead products. However, an oral thermometer is a solution we believe to be the most accurate every time. It is less influenced by environmental circumstances outside of what is happening in the body. The Braun Thermoscan was the most reliable of the infrared choices in our tests and had the shortest wait time outlined in its instructions of only 20 minutes in the same room with the subject. On the downside, you'll need to slightly tug the ear down to get a straight reading on the eardrum, which could be disruptive or cause pain if your little one has an ear infection. However, getting an accurate reading is critical, so we'll take a brief moment of discomfort over a false reading. Selecting a combination of the forehead and oral thermometers is arguably one of the best solutions to ensure accurate and reliable results.

Don't forget a Humidifier
Finding a great humidifier from the best baby humidifier review is another tool you'll want if your little one falls ill.

baby and kids thermometer - no matter which option you choose as right for your family, every...
No matter which option you choose as right for your family, every home should have a reliable and accurate thermometer to help monitor and protect the well being of every family member.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Parenthood includes many unplanned events, including surprising midnight illnesses and the need for a suitable thermometer. Whether your baby is fighting chronic ear infections or has a superior immune system that rarely falls ill, you'll need to keep a thermometer close for emergencies or quick checks before school. Because infrared technology includes limitations and the potential for inaccurate readings, we think it is best to plan a dual-coverage approach. We recommend combining an infrared thermometer for easy readings with an oral/rectal thermometer for more accurate information that is less influenced by environmental factors. We believe this review has helpful, accurate, and economical options, and you can use our test results to find the right product or products for your family.

Wendy Schmitz